- The anti-French resistance and the division of the country
The Vietnam – denomination assumed by Annam (➔ # 10132;) at the beginning of the 19th century. – was progressively conquered by the French in the second half of the nineteenth century and in 1887 it became part of French Indochina. From the beginning of the 20th century. the colonial authorities were opposed by a strong anti-colonial movement, within which the Viet-minh was formed in 1941(League for the independence of Vietnam). Born from the alliance between nationalists and communists led by Ho Chi-minh, the Viet-minh led the struggle against the Japanese occupation forces and the French administration until 1945. In March 1945 the Japanese overthrew the French collaborationist government and recognized the independence of the Vietnam under the sovereignty of Emperor Bao Dai. At the same time, the rural areas of the North were the scene of a peasant uprising, which allowed the advance of the Viet-minh, until the conquest of Hanoi, in August 1945. The Japanese surrender and the abdication of Bao Dai was followed by the proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam(RDV), with Ho Chi-minh as president. The process of building the new state was however blocked by the French reoccupation: from the end of 1946, the forces of the RDV were engaged in a bitter conflict against the French. From 1949 the situation was made more complex by the formation of a State of the Vietnam (with capital in Saigon) under the sovereignty of Bao Dai; ally of the French, this received, starting from 1951, increasing aid also from the United States. In 1954 the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu paved the way for the Geneva Accords, which established a ceasefire and the provisional division of the country along the 17th parallel N: the forces of the RDV withdrew to the N, the French troops and those of the State of Vietnam to the South. For the next 21 years the Vietnam remained divided along the provisional line and the two areas of the country followed a profoundly different development. In Saigon, in October 1955, pro-US Ngô-dinh-Diem deposed Emperor Bao Dai and proclaimed the Republic del Vietnam becoming its president. The authoritarian, rigidly Catholic and anti-communist regime of Diem fueled a vast movement of rebellion in the southern countryside. The government of Hanoi, recognized in 1950 by the USSR and popular China, instead initiated the process of building a socialist state. In 1955 Ho Chi-minh left the office of Prime Minister to Pham Văn Ðông, keeping those of Communist Party President and Head of State until his death (1969); the Viet-minh was replaced in 1955 by the Patriotic Front. Meanwhile, the conflict between the National Liberation Front (FLN), a coalition of opposition forces in Diem, established in 1960 under communist hegemony, and the Saigon government had assumed an international significance: starting from 1960, in addition to financial aid, the US sent military equipment and advisers to Southern Vietnam Nonetheless, Saigon was unable to stop the advance of the FLN forces, supported with weapons and military experts by the RDV. Increasingly discredited by widespread corruption and weakened by military defeats, Diem was overthrown in November 1963 by a military pronouncement, backed by the US itself. After a phase that saw a succession of military coups, in 1965 a junta presided over by Nguyên-van-Thiêu took over. in November 1963 Diem was overthrown by a military pronouncement, supported by the US itself. After a phase that saw a succession of military coups, in 1965 a junta presided over by Nguyên-van-Thiêu took over. in November 1963 Diem was overthrown by a military pronouncement, supported by the US itself. After a phase that saw a succession of military coups, in 1965 a junta presided over by Nguyên-van-Thiêu took over.
- The Vietnam War
In the same year, the USA began massive bombings in Northern Vietnam, which then intervened in support of the FLN, receiving in turn aid from the USSR and China. Large areas of the Vietnam were devastated by US bombings, which however did not weaken the fighting capacity of the liberation forces, while opposition to war was growing in the US and around the world. In January 1968, the North Vietnamese launched a generalized offensive that prompted the US administration to reconsider the terms of its involvement. Washington started a gradual decrease of the forces present in the Vietnam, while peace talks began in Paris. Nevertheless, in the following years the conflict experienced a further intensification reaching Laos and Cambodia; during 1972 the US bombing of the North resumed with renewed violence. A ceasefire agreement was finally signed in January 1973, but fighting in the South continued until the conquest of Saigon by the troops of the Provisional Revolutionary Government and those of North Vietnam (April 1975; fig. 2). In 1976 the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed. Lê Duan was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party, while Pham Văn Ðông was confirmed at the head of the government.
- After reunification
After reunification, in addition to the very serious damage caused by the war, the country had to face the imbalances existing between the economies of the North and the South, to which were added the problems on the international level. Vietnam found himself increasingly subjected to the political influence of Moscow. In December 1978 the forces of Hanoi invaded Cambodia, giving rise to a pro-Vietnamese regime, which ruled the country until the early 1990s. The serious deterioration in relations with Beijing that ensued resulted in a brief conflict in February-March 1979; the occupation of Cambodia also aggravated international isolation. One of the most dramatic consequences of the difficult situation was the enormous exodus of refugees, mainly of Chinese origin. ● Dead Lê Duan (1986), the new general secretary, Nguyên-van-Linh, promoted a reform of the economy which involved the introduction of market elements. In 1991 Do Muoi, at the head of the government since 1988, took over from Nguyên-van-Linh, in turn being replaced by Vo-van-Kiet as Prime Minister. In 1992 a new Constitution established the office of President of the Republic, to which General Le Duc Anh was elected. ● On the international level, the rapprochement between China and the USSR allowed the start of a solution to the Cambodian question starting from 1988, with the withdrawal of the Vietnamese troops and the signing in 1991 of a peace plan. These developments allowed a progressive improvement of relations with Beijing and also the release of aid from many Asian and European countries and the reopening of access to funding from the main international institutions. In 1995 the Vietnam joined ASEAN. In 1997 Trân Duc Luong became president of the Republic, while the office of prime minister was assumed by Phan Van Khai and at the head of the Communist Party he was called Le Kha Phieu. The activities of the new government were mainly aimed at limiting the effects of the economic crisis; the fight against corruption in the party apparatuses was also intensified, within which the conservative wing regained strength. On the international level, the process of regional integration was strengthened and relations with China were strengthened. Relations with the US also improved further and in 1999 Washington again established a diplomatic seat on Vietnamese territory. ● The process of economic reform accelerated in the early years of the 21st century, after the election (2001, reconfirmed in 2006) of the new party secretary Nong Duc Manh, exponent of the reformist wing. In 2006, Nguyen Minh Triet became president and a new head of government and a new president of parliament were also appointed, as part of a policy of rejuvenation of the ruling class. In 2007 the country joined the World Trade Organization.Truong Tan Sang was appointed president in 2011, followed by Tran Dai Quang in 2016, followed in 2018 by Nguyen Phu Trong ; since April 2021, the country’s president is former prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and premier Phạm Minh Chính while outgoing president Nguyen Phu Tronghe retained only the post of general secretary of the Communist Party. ● In the international arena, in the context of the relaxation of relations with the United States, it should be noted the historic first visit to Vietnam made by B. Obama in May 2016, during which the politician announced the lifting of the embargo on the sale of arms to the country, after the suspension of the banfor naval defense weapons already decided in 2014. In June 2019, after more than three years of negotiations, Vietnam and the European Union signed a free trade agreement, which – after approval by the European Parliament – will make it possible to reduce duties on products traded between the two parties.